IN the wake of major B.C. Liberal donor Paul Oei being found to have committed fraud by the B.C. Securities Commission Wednesday, the NDP says questions are being raised as to whether the B.C. Liberals will give back the money they received – as they promised they would.
As reported in the media, the B.C. Securities Commission heard that $37,888 of fraudulently obtained funds through Oie were directly tied to political donations to the B.C. Liberal Party. On Wednesday, Oie was found to have committed fraud.
Back in September 2016, B.C. Liberal party official Jillian Stead stated that if the allegations were proven true, the B.C. Liberals would return the contributions. The question remains whether they will make good on this promise, says the NDP.
According to testimony, Oei used his connections with former Premier Christy Clark and other high-profile B.C. Liberals to help convince would-be immigrants that his venture, Cascade, a proposed Port Coquitlam recycling plant, had government backing and that investing in the scheme would ensure investors could obtain permanent residency through the B.C. Provincial Nominees Program.
“This finding by the B.C. Securities Commission underscores why our government needed to ban big money in B.C. politics,” said Ravi Kahlon, MLA for Delta North. “British Columbians want to have confidence that those with deep pockets do not have undue influence over government decision-making, as Mr. Oei’s case strongly suggests they did under the B.C. Liberals.”
Oei and his wife Loretta Lai have been extensively photographed with high-profile B.C. Liberals, including former Premier Christy Clark, and former cabinet minister, John Yap, and have contributed through both personal and corporate donations, $70,032.85 to the B.C. Liberal Party in just a five year period between 2011 and 2016.
“These contributions illustrate the cash-for-access culture that exists with the B.C. Liberals,” said Kahlon. “It’s clear that the B.C. Liberals have very few scruples when it comes to who they accepted money from and under what circumstances, even when it hurts people.”